1. Please take 30 seconds to register your free account to remove most ads, post topics, make friends, earn reward points at our store, and more!  
    TalkBass.com has been uniting the low end since 1998.  Join us! :)

Left-right hand independence

Discussion in 'Technique [BG]' started by tegnoto89, Apr 13, 2009.

  1. tegnoto89


    Dec 24, 2008
    I have this issue where my right hand two finger picking wants to always follow what my right hand is doing (if my right hand is moving up fretwise, my ring finger wants to pick, etc.). Do you guys know any tricks to help build left-right hand independence?
  2. Fergie Fulton

    Fergie Fulton

    Nov 22, 2008
    Retrovibe Artist rota
    I am confused by your question as it appears you have two right hands LOL :) So here is a brief introduction to how your hand work. If you ring finger wants to get involved and it is not a problem...let it.

    Here's the thing about finger picking techniques, just using the forefinger you have just one considerations that really applies and is fundimental, where do i swing from?
    Aside from all the other issues, this is the one to address as it is the last link in the chain because the touch the strings, as are all the positions i will go through.
    Do you swing from the knuckle joint or the 1st joint ( if we assume the fingers have the knuckle joint, a 1st joint and a 2nd joint in each finger, in each hand) or is it a blend of the two. As there is only one finger involved there are no real problems, its just playing on the up strokes.

    Introduce the middle finger and its much the same thing to address but now with alternating fingers if so desired. The issue of which finger to start on is one for the brain to sort out, its not a co-ordination thing.
    Some people find it easier to start on the index finger , some on the middle finger, it makes no difference to your hands or fingers which one you start with.
    It is a back and forward motion and thats how the brain will percieve and deal with it. Regardless of which finger you favor to start with, if you start with the one you don't favor your brain will give your that on for free and carry on with the motion of back and forward.
    This is most noticable if you start with the middle finger, after one stroke you are back on to the forefinger and alternate playing, and thats the point do you play alternate finger style 100%.

    Introduce the ring finger and now its a different game, you have a new choice, left to right or right to left, and your brain will want to get involved to add to the confusion.
    Is it easier to start ring, middle, index, and continue that way, or should you go index, middle, ring and contine that way, or start ring, middle, fore, middle, ring and continue that way, or fore, middle, ring, middle, fore and continue that way.
    How about a two finger style and the ring joining in on say changing strings or octaves, or triplets etc. The two finger style can be any mentioned, or add a new one.
    Index, ring finger is a good option as it still is perceived as a left to right or right to left by the brain as well as an alternating style by the hands and fingers.
    Why, well the ring finger and the index finger have a different nerve and muscle group to call upon, but will share action when the middle finger is involved. The hand has a great way off "shutting off" the influence of the ring finger on the middle finger.
    As the ring finger and the little finger share the same nerve and muscle group thee action of curling them in to touch th palm of the hand will stop there influence. Thats why if you have something delicate or tricky to do with your fingers that requires control and precision you will approach it with your thumb, index and middle fingers with your ring and little finger tucked out the way.
    If there is a pen or pencil near by pick it up and see the action for yourself. That action is why the nerves and muscle groups are split in the hands with power and strength coming from the other side which is the little, ring and middle finger. Now add in that little finger and you have a definate left to right, right to left motion to contend with in four fingers.
    The motion is always easier coming from the little finger as that comes from the power side with the dexterity side following, very much like a wave crashing onto a beach, the fingers roll in after each other, a bit like galloping as used by Steve harris of Iron Maiden.
    The one digit not mentioned is the thumb, it can blend in with any of the techniques mentioned as it is opposable to all the fingers.

    Independence is good, but ultimatly the two hands have to work together and the sound and ease of the technique should be above any quirks that may be against what you see as the norm.
  3. Cut off your left hand, and it will be independent.
  4. Tommy Emmanuel on finger independence. If you have a guitar around you could try this? If not, it's still a fun watch :)

    Edit: on second thought this video is about indepence of the thumb from the fingers (on the right hand). I don't know if it's still helpful...

Share This Page